Parliamentary evening focuses on e-health strategy
A cross-sectoral parliamentary evening was held in Berlin in December to discuss Germany’s e-health strategy. The event came out of a collaboration of eight trade associations – BIO Deutschland, Bitkom, bvitg, BVMed, SPECTARIS, VDGH, vfa and ZVEI – who released a joint position paper in the middle of the year calling for the establishment of a dialogue platform to formulate an e-health strategy.
After vfa’s Director-General, Birgit Fischer, opened the evening with welcoming remarks, Health Minister Jens Spahn spoke to the attendees about a number of topics, including electronic patient records, health apps, telemedicine and the telematics infrastructure. He offered particularly detailed remarks about big data analyses of health data at the end of his talk, stating that it was important that health data be made available in an anonymised or pseudonymised form for healthcare research. Spahn also said that policymakers have a responsibility to establish an appropriate legal framework for data donorship. Against the backdrop of dynamic changes in the health sector, he announced that in the future his Ministry would expeditiously add well-vetted provisions to further draft bills as part of omnibus legislation and urged attendees to make concrete proposals for legislative changes.
Following the Health Minister’s talk, Thomas Kostera from the Bertelsmann Stiftung presented the results of the #SmartHealthSystems study, which compares the state of the digitalisation of healthcare systems in 17 countries. The study comes to the conclusion that countries that have developed an e-health strategy and an e-health vision are far more successful in digitally transforming their healthcare systems than other countries. Germany ranks 16th in the comparative study.
There was also a panel discussion on digital interconnectedness in the healthcare sector, digital health concepts and possible healthcare goals. Panellists were Maria Klein-Schmeink (Bundestag member and spokesperson on health policy for the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group), Tino Sorge (Bundestag member and rapporteur for digitalisation and the healthcare economy for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group), Hagen Pfundner (CEO of Roche Pharma) and Jens Naumann (Managing Director of medatixx). The panel was moderated by Michael Meyer (Head of Strategy Germany and Government Affairs EMEA at Siemens Healthineers).
BIO Deutschland’s Managing Director, Viola Bronsema, summarised the results of the parliamentary evening in her closing remarks, pointing out the rapidly increasing importance of big data in recent years as well as the opportunities that big data and digital applications offer for the healthcare system. She, of course, did not fail to mention that biologisation is occurring parallel and quoted what Steve Jobs once said on this subject: “I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.”